MMaterialsgateNEWS 2012/06/01

Graphene: Iowa State physics researchers find new properties of the carbon material graphene

Findings could have applications in high-speed communications fields.
Graphene has caused a lot of excitement among scientists since the extremely strong and thin carbon material was discovered in 2004. Just one atom thick, the honeycomb-shaped material has several remarkable properties combining mechanical toughness with superior electrical and thermal conductivity. Now a group of scientists at Iowa State University, led by physicist Jigang Wang, has shown that graphene has two other properties that could have applications in high-speed telecommunications devices and laser technology – population inversion of electrons and broadband optical gain. Wang is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University. He also is an associate scientist with the Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory. Wang's team flashed extremely short laser pulses on graphene. The researchers immediately discovered a new photo-excited graphene state characterized by a broadband population inversion of electrons. Under normal conditions, most electrons would occupy low-energy states and just a few would populate higher-energy states. In population-inverted states, this situation is reversed: more electrons populate higher, rather than lower, energy states. Such population inversions are very rare in nature and can have highly unusual properties. In graphene, the new state produces an optical gain from the infrared to the visible. Simply stated, optical gain means more visible

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Investigated and edited by:

Dr.-Ing. Christoph Konetschny, Founder & Owner of Materialsgate
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